FG applies to withdraw treasonable felony charge against Sowore

The Federal Government of Nigeria has applied to drop the treasonable felony charge against Omoyele Sowore, the organizer of RevolutionNow protest back in 2019 by former president Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has applied to drop the treasonable felony charge that was filed against Omoyele Sowore, civil rights activist and organizer of the RevolutionNow protest, back in 2019 by former president Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, in a letter dated February 14th, where he wrote to the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, applying for the termination of further proceedings in the matter.

Sowore, who contested as the presidential candidate for the African Action Congress, AAC, in the previous general election, and is also the publisher of Sahara Reporters, an online news outlet, was arrested and brought before the court.

This happened after he called for a nationwide protest against what he perceived as poor governance by the Buhari-led government.

Despite the fact that the defendants were arrested, the protest still held in different parts of the nation on August 5, 2019, with security operatives clamping down on some of the participants.

The defendant where charged with treasonable felony, conspiracy, money laundering, cyber-stalking and insulting President Buhari.

FG alleged that the defendants and others at large, had while under the eagis of Coalition for Revolution (CORE), sometimes in August 2019, in Abuja, Lagos and other parts of Nigeria, conspired amongst themselves to stage a revolution campaign on 5th day of August 2019 tagged #RevolutionNow, aimed at removing the President of Nigeria during his term of office otherwise than by constitutional means.

However, both Sowore and Bakare pleaded not guilty to the charge, even as trial Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu ordered their release on bail, a judicial directive the Department of State Services, DSS, temporarily obeyed for about 12 hours after they had spent over 124 days in detention.

The agency re-arrested Sowore at the premises of the court.

In the wake of the public outcry that trailed the action of the DSS, the immediate past AGF, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, directed the security agency to hands-off the matter and transfer the case-file to his office for review.

Subsequently, Malami, on December 24, 2019, ordered Sowore’s release after he had spent about five months in the custody of the DSS.

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal later described as “excessive”, the bail condition that restricted Sowore from travelling out of Abuja.

The appellate court held that the defendant, having surrendered his international passport to the trial court, was at liberty to enjoy the freedom of movement that was guaranteed to him under the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

It, however, ordered him not to travel outside the country without the permission of the trial court.

Meanwhile, about five years after the charge was filed against the defendants, no meaningful headway was made in the matter by the prosecution.

The AGF, Fagbemi, SAN, having reviewed the case, invoked his statutory powers and withdrew it.

The notice of discontinuance he wrote to the court, a copy of which Vanguard sighted on Thursday, read: “By virtue of the power conferred on me under section 174(1) (c ) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, section 107(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, and all other powers enabling me in that behalf.

“I, Lateef Olasunkanmi Fagbemi, SAN, intend to discontinue Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/235/2019.”

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